The BOI signs 12 Agreements starting the year 2002

The BOI has signed 12 agreements during the month of January 2002, amounting to an estimated total investment of Rs. 1,055mn of which Rs. 780 Mn. consists of foreign investment and the projected employment is around 1900.

In the apparel sector growth and dominance still prevail with an agreement signed by Sirio (Pvt) Ltd. with an investment of Rs.521Mn. and employing 1200 people. This BOI venture will establish a project to manufacture non-quota garments for the export market. Dott, Sandro Veronesi, the president of Calzedonia Luxembourg opened 3 years ago its first factory, Omega line Ltd a state-of-the-art factory at Sandalankawa. Dott Veronesi decided to open another factory to expand their presence in Sri Lanka. The parent company of Sirio Ltd will sell their products through a network over 1250 shops in Europe. They also have their own labels namely "Intimissimi" for underwear and "Calzedonia" for swimwear.

Colombo Copper (Pvt) Ltd. has signed an agreement to set up a project to manufacture copper wire rods in coil forms and stripes for the export market. This project falls under the light engineering industry category and the main collaborators of this project are from the USA and India. The total investment of this project is estimated at Rs. 126 mn with an employment capacity of 100.

Allied Metals (Pvt) Ltd. will establish a project to manufacturer alluminum alloy ingots and automobile components for the export market. The investment of this project to be located at Horana Export Procession Zone is Rs. 126 mn while its employment potential is at 30. The main collaborators of this project are also from the USA and India.

Lanka Timber plantations and industries Ltd, has signed an agreement to set up a project to manufacture wooden furniture for the export market investing Rs. 110 mn and employing 185 local personal. This new project is a joint venture between Woodman Export (Pvt) Ltd, Tri Star (Pvt) Ltd and the State Timber Corporation. The BOI concessions have been granted to this new project, which is restructured by collaboration with an existing BOI company.

Mogami Lanka (Pvt) Ltd is a Japanese investment will establish a project to manufacture and assemble electrical goods and allied product for the export and domestic market. This project will be established at Bandaragama investing Rs. 39 mn. and creating 20 jobs.

Vatters Garden (Pvt) Ltd has signed an agreement to set up a 24-roomed tourist hotel at Matara. Total investment of this German project is estimated at Rs. 22 mn. with an employment capacity of 41.

Agriforce (Pvt) Ltd, will establish a project to cultivate perennial crops such as mango, cashew, rambutan, avocado, cocoa and pepper in a 125 hectares land in Kurunegala district. The estimated local investment of this project around Rs. 30.4 mn and employment generation will be around 82.

Copier Company (Pvt) Ltd, has signed an agreement to set up a company for refurbishing imported used photocopiers, laminating machines, paper shredders and accessories for re-export. The main collaborators of this project are from the Australia and India. This project will generate 102 new employment opportunities while investing a total of Rs. 20 mn.

In the IT sector, two companies Mackwoods IT (Pvt) Ltd and Spectrum Training Centre (Pvt) Ltd have signed agreements with investment totaling Rs. 16.6 mn. and will provide 67 job opportunities. Mackwoods IT (Pvt) Ltd will establish a project to develop software for the export. Spectrum Training Centre will set up an information technology-training institute to provide an education and do research on Bluetooth Technology and Bio-Informatics in computer science, computer programming and programming languages.

Omega Tapes (Pvt) Ltd has signed to set up a project to manufacture adhesive and other tapes for direct and indirect exporters with an investment of Rs. 34.5 mn. generating 34 jobs.

Jinadasa Industrial Appliance (Pvt) Ltd has signed an agreement to set up to manufacture and assemble industrial and domestic appliance and components such as electric motors, motor parts, water pumps and accessories for the export market investing Rs.12.5 mn and employing 57 local personnel.

The BOI web site will carry details of approvals given in the last nine months as well as a comprehensive database with search capabilities for details on BOI companies under commercial operation.


Media Dept.
India, Singapore, Sri Lanka tripartite economic pact
The Sri Lankan Government is taking steps to initiate a tripartite trade and economic pact among Sri Lanka, India and Singapore shortly, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told a group of investors and business persons in Singapore yesterday.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was addressing a seminar organised by the Singapore Trade Chamber in collaboration with the Board of Investment at the Marin Mandarin Hotel.

The Prime Minister, who is on an official visit to this island State, disclosed that this matter has been brought to the notice of Singaporean leaders. He said Sri Lanka must develop close relations with India and Singapore to spur development and strengthen the economy.

The Premier stressed that establishing peace in Sri Lanka was vital to develop the country economically.

"Singapore has achieved a very high level of development with only three million people. With nearly 19 million people, it should not be impossible for Lanka to achieve rapid development," he observed.

"If we take appropriate measures to create a peaceful environment, that will help achieve speedy development and generate a large number of employment opportunities. Our doors are always open for foreign investors." He reiterated that a political solution was essential to solve the current crisis.

"The day-to-day needs of the people around the country must be identified. This is why we lifted the ban recently and started sending goods to the people in Northern areas."

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the Government has decided to observe a permanent ceasefire, which will also help to start peace talks.

The war has completely crippled the Lankan economy, resulting in a negative growth rate. The government aimed to increase this up to four per cent.

The seminar was also attended by participants from neighbouring countries who too forwarded number of questions to the Prime Minister.

The investors asked the Prime Minister about the novel programs initiated by the Government on par with the Government's 100 day -development program and how this program affects foreign investors.

The Premier replied that the government has implemented many investor-friendly projects in line with the 100 days program. The BoI has identified and taken steps to solve many problems related to foreign investment, so that investors could begin operations in Sri Lanka without facing any difficulties.

Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Minister Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana, UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrama, Sri Lankan envoy in Singapore Chitrangani Wagiswara and BOI Chairman Arjun Mahendran were also present.

Daily News 16/02/02
PM off to Singapore

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to leave for Singapore today for an official visit.

Minister of Economic Reforms and Science and Technology Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Refugees Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana, Minister of Enterprise development, Industrial policy and Investment promotion Prof G.L. Peiris and Chairman of the BOI, Arjun Mahendra will also participate in the tour.

The Prime Minister is expected to hold talks with Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chock Tong and Senior Minister of the Prime Minister's Office Lee Kuan Yew.

The Prime Minister will also meet the officials of the Singapore Economic Bureau to discuss the means for investment and tourist promotion between the two countries.

Daily News 14/02/02
Ten Lankan software Companies at CeBIT 2002

Ten Sri Lankan software companies will present software skills for the first time at CeBIT 2002 to be held in Hannover, Germany from March 13 to 20.

CeBIT is the world's largest and most significant tradeshow for information and telecommunications technology.

It is known to be an effective buyer -seller meeting place featuring an extensive display of ICT products and services.

The Sri Lanka pavilion will be represented by leading IT/ICT companies in the country. They are : WaveNET, Lanka On-Line, ExcelSoft, LogicalTech Corporation, Softtech, eCommerce Technologies, Hsenid Software International, Ubizport, Evosoft Interactive and Prudential Technologies.

The Software Exporters Association and the Sri Lanka Tourist Board have designed the theme " From the land of the eighth wonder we bring you software par excellence" for the pavilion.

The Sri Lanka Pavilion has been organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Germany (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the Software Exporters Associations (SEA).

The pavilion will present 10,000 brochures to the international CeBIT audience at this exhibition, which is expected to attract over 800,000 visitors. The organizers plan to target European tourists and businessmen making the event an attractive Sri Lankan experience in addition to the displaying of IT/ICT products.

Daily News 13/02/02
Major boost for tea exports

Sri Lanka's tea exports will shortly be given a major boost following three landmark decisions - trading teas in US Dollars, the imminent establishment of a Futures market and the establishment of a new 30 acre Duty Free Shopping Complex on the Colombo-Katunayake Road, aimed a making Sri Lanka the premier tea exporter in the world.

These three developments are mandatory for the Sri Lanka tea industry to turn around and gain a competitive edge in the international market. The industry, despite being a major foreign exchange earner has not progressed substantially in the last decade to the levels it ought to have, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake told the Daily News last night.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has given the nod for all three projects as he is keen to see that the tea industry is fully developed. The Government will finalise all arrangements for these three projects within the next few days, Minister Karunanayake said.

This would mean that tea exports would reach stability when negotiated in Dollars unlike the present situation where it is traded in Sri Lanka Rupees. The values are not fully realised when the Sri Lanka Rupee is devaluated, Minister Karunanayake explained.

A majority of the exporters are fully supportive of this proposal to export teas using Dollars barring a few who thrive on foreign exchange fluctuations, he noted.

Also on the drawing boards is the establishment of a Futures Market where buyers would have the facility of making forward bookings and trading teas in the manner in which financial markets operate overseas, he said. This would enable Sri Lanka to take the lead over its competitors such as India, Kenya and China.

The third project is the establishment of a 30 acre Duty Free Shopping Complex on the Colombo- Katunayake Road which will not only have teas but also other consumer goods such as electronic appliances.

Efforts will also be made to promote intra- regional travel within the SAARC region and especially with special emphasis on Indian and Pakistani tourists, who will be permitted to purchase goods in Indian/Pakistani Rupees, he stressed.

The Prime Minister is very keen that relations with India are fostered and this project would also strengthen ties between the two countries, he added.

Daily News 12/02/02
100 MW from private sector
The Power and Energy Ministry in a bid to solve the power crisis yesterday decided call for private sector participation to add another 100 MW to the national grid, a spokesman for the Power and Energy Ministry told the Daily News yesterday.

He said the Ministry will be obtaining 100 MW from the private sector under its mid-term proposals to increase the Ceylon Electricity Board's power generating capacity.

The 100 MW obtained from the private sector after calling tenders will be added to the national grid within two weeks, the spokesman added. The CEB in a bid to bridge the 200 MW deficit in power supply and demand called tenders last month to purchase emergency power from the private sector.

Apart from this the Ministry will also seek private sector participation to establish wind power stations in areas identified by the CEB. The Ministry will coordinate with funding agencies and institutions interested in establishing these wind power projects, the spokesman added.

The CEB is now facing a difficult situation due to the drastic reduction in the water levels of reservoirs. Several thermal power plants are also not functioning due to repairs.

Proposals have been made to further increase the power cuts under these circumstances, CEB sources added.

Daily News 12/02/02
Tax-free land for expats
The government has decided to remove the 100 percent tax on the acquisition of land by foreigners, officials said.

The move is intended to make the island more attractive to foreign investors who had hitherto seen the tax as a stumbling block in making investments here.

The 100 percent tax on land sales to foreigners, whether individuals or corporate bodies, had served as a deterrent and discouraged foreigners from acquiring land in the island.

It comes under the Stamp Act and had been in existence for over 20 years. The tax meant there had been very few outright sales of land to foreigners, officials said. "This will help attract foreign direct investment," said Radhika Jayasundera, assistant vice president of research at DFCC Stockbrokers. "Foreigners will be able to set up factories and offices with easier access to land."

Board of Investment officials said foreign investors were concerned about having to pay such a prohibitive tax in acquiring land for investment projects.

Sunday Times 10/02/02
Italian investor Viscotex S. R. I. of Italy with local counterparts have gone into an aggressive expansion of their Sri Lankan operation to manufacture garments & socks for the EU market investing Rs.144 mn. in the new expansion.

The opening ceremony will be held on 08 th February 2002 at Japalawattha Industrial Estate Minuwangoda. Mr. Arjunna Mahendran Chairman/Director General of the BOI will be the chief guest at this occasion.

Texlan (Lanka ) Ltd was incorporated in 1980 for the manufacture of Hosiery viz. Tights (for ladies & children ) and Socks (for men, ladies and children) for the European market.

Due to the high demand for the company's products in the European market, the company has decided to set up their second factory to cater to this demand using state-of-the-art computerized Knitting Machines. This second factory was built on a land extent of 1.5 acres in Minuwangoda Industrial Estate, with a total investment of US$ 5 million. This has resulted in new employment opportunities for initially 200 workers, which will be increased to 300 by the end of this year. The total number of employees of the two factories currently stands at 530.

The company's total production is exported to Europe and marketed through a distribution network in Germany, which is also owned by the same investors. The main shareholders of the company are from Italy.

The investors also have two more investments in Sri Lanka namely Filotex Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, the only Acrylic yarn spinning factory in Sri Lanka, situated in the EPZ Katunayaka and the Tamarind Tree Hotel which is a unique concept tourist hotel situated at Andiambalama, Minuwangoda.

The BOI signs 21 New Agreements generating 2000 Jobs
Total estimated investment Rs. 5.83 billion
Projected employment - 2,162
The Board of Investment has released details for the period of November / December 2001 Investment approvals. The BOI has signed a total of 21 agreements in the months of November to December totaling an Investment of Rs. 5853 Mn., of which Rs. 2315 Mn. consists of foreign investment. The projected direct employment is around 2162.

A high point of the investment agreements has been the first investment by Chun Cheng Lanka (Pvt) Ltd investing Rs. 1284 Mn and employing 300 people. The BOI has signed an agreement under the special technology category to set up a fisheries project, which will utilize technology not previously used in Sri Lanka. This Singaporean project would upgrade Sri Lanka's regional competitiveness in the sector.

Recogen (Pvt) Ltd had signed an agreement to set up a charcoal manufacturing factory and an 8 MW power generation plant at Badalgama, with an investment of Rs. 940 Mn The employment generating capacity is estimated at 90. This project the 100% owned subsidiary of Haycarb Ltd will produce combusting gases (rich in Carbon Monoxide, Methane & Hydrogen) released during pyrolisis of coconut shells in a boiler that will in turn run a steam turbine. The patent from the total 8 MW of electricity generated, 7 MW will be supplied to the national grid (under the standardized private power purchase agreement), while the balance 1 MW will be used for internal consumption.

Further, Zyrex Power Company Erathna Ltd has signed an agreement to set up a Mini Hydro Power generation plant investing Rs. 506 Mn, and creating 35 new job opportunities.

Royal Porcelain (Pvt) Ltd has signed an agreement to set up a project to manufacture ceramic floor tiles by acquiring the assets of Interbach Porcelain (Pvt) Ltd., which is a BOI approved company that ceased commercial activity. Royal Porcelain made an additional investment of Rs. 722 Mn to obtain the BOI status.

Kalutota Residence (Pvt) Ltd has signed an agreement with an estimated investment of Rs. 711 Mn to set up a project to construct a housing complex in two locations in Colombo 3 and Colombo 5.

Star Packaging (Pvt) Ltd, will set up a project to manufacture corrugated cartons for the local market. The investment in this project to be located at Wedamulla, Kelaniya is Rs. 610 Mn while its employment potential is estimated at 188.

International Trading and Packaging Systems (Pvt) Ltd., will establish a project to manufacture Corrugated Cartons, Poly bags, Hangers and Acetate boxes for Marks & Spencer at Seeduwa. The main collaborator of this project is from Kent, UK. Total investment of this project is estimated at Rs. 63 Mn with an employment capacity of 155.

A 140,000 sq. ft. warehouse complex will be set up at Muthurajawela by John Keels Warehousing (Pvt) Ltd. The investment in this project is around Rs. 250 Mn and employment generation will be around 36.

In the rubber sector Global Rubber (Pvt) Ltd., has signed an agreement to manufacture solid rubber tyres for the export market investing Rs. 119.5 Mn and employing 121 local personnel.

Kailash Metachem (Pvt) Ltd., has obtained approval to set up a project to manufacture lead Oxide, Zinc Oxide, PVC Stabilizers etc., for the export market investing Rs. 179 Mn.

Alchemy Boulder (Pvt) Ltd, will establish a project to process Silica Quartz for the overseas market. The project will be located at Pallekele Industrial Park and mining operation would be carried out at Digana, Kandy. This project will generate 196 new employment opportunities while investing a total of Rs. 42 Mn.

The White Haven (Pvt) Ltd., is a Sri Lankan/UK joint venture to set up a 25 roomed hotel at Pinwatta, Panadura investing Rs. 39 Mn.

Daiko Sri Lanka (Pvt) Ltd a subsidiary of Daiko Co. Ltd Japan has singed an agreement to set up a project to manufacture machinery parts and accessories for sewing machines and other similar machines for export. The total investment of this project is Rs. 39 Mn.

In the garment sector, two companies Devouge (Pvt) Ltd, and Challenge Apparels (Pvt) Ltd have signed agreements with investments totalling Rs. 52 Mn. and will provide 332 job opportunities. Devouge will establish a project to manufacture garments for, exports, which will be located at Polgahawela Export Processing Zone. Challenge Apparels (Pvt) Ltd located at Narammala will set up a project to manufacture non-quota garments.

The period under review has witnessed the entry of three enterprises viz. Data Infoworks Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, DCS Center for Information Technology (Pvt) Ltd), and Netmedia International (Pvt) Ltd to the IT sector. Netmedia International (pvt) Ltd, has signed an agreement to develop software for the export market. The main sponsor of this project is Natanya International Ltd from Bahamas while the local collaborator is Acme International. The estimated investment of this project is Rs. 230 Mn and employment generation is 54. Data Infoworks Lanka (Pvt) Ltd will set up a project to develop software for the domestic and export markets investing Rs. 26 Mn. DCS Center for Information Technology (Pvt) Ltd., will set up an IT Training Institute under the 50 IT training center programme investing Rs. 3.5 Mn andl creating 35 job opportunities. This project has been selected by the BII to operate under the 50 IT training center programme to promote computer awareness programmes in Urban and Semi Urban areas.

In the Gem & Jewellery sector two companies, namely Galvo Niru (Pvt) Ltd, and Herbert Stephan Lanka (Pvt) Ltd with investment, of Rs. 21 Mn. and Rs. 12 Mn respectively have signed agreements to set up projects to manufacture Jewellery and cutting & polishing of gems for the export market. Employment is projected at over 350.

Expo Regional Holdings (Pvt) Ltd will set up regional operating headquarters to provide business support services in collaboration with Shore-to-Shore Inc. of USA. The project undertakes service activities for their associate investments in India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka. The total investment of this project is Rs. 5 Mn.

Typically 80-85% of the approvals granted move on to formal agreements signed with the BOI. Approximately 60% of agreements finally move on to projects that materialize and commence operation.

The BOI web site will carry details of approvals given in the last eight months as well as a comprehensive database with search capabilities for details on BOI companies under commercial operation.

Avoidance of double taxation

An agreement between Sri Lanka and Kuwait for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income was signed in Colombo yesterday.

It was signed by the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue, B. T. Perera, for the Government of Sri Lanka and Kuwaiti Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Monsa Sulaiman Al-Mousa Al-Saif on behalf of Kuwait.

The agreement will enter in to force in due course upon the completion of other procedures required by the law, Perera said. He said that this is the thirtieth agreement of this nature and many countries said the USA, Egypt, Iran, Russia, Philippines and Bulgaria have signed similar agreements before.

With the agreement in place it is expected to encourage foreign investors to the country, he added. The agreement, which includes provisions for taxation at reduced rates of interest, dividends and royalties in order to promote capital inflows, will also provide for a complete "tax sparing" credit, Perera said.

With regard to airline profits, complete exemption has been given in the country of source, but shipping profits are charged to tax in the source country, subject to a reduction of the tax so charged by 50%, he said.

The agreement provides for the exchange of information between Sri Lanka and Kuwait to facilitate the enforcement of the provisions of the agreement and also to assist in the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to income tax, he added.

Island 7/02/02
South Asian market targeted: Rs. 100 million cosmetic plant to produce Paragon products
Paragon Cosmetics Ltd of Australia and Thenuwara Trading Pvt. Ltd are planning to build a cosmetic plant in Sri Lanka to manufacture Paragon products aiming at the South Asian market.

Thenuwara Trading Pvt. Ltd, Managing Director, Carmen Thenuwara, said that discussion in this regard had already been done and the founder of Paragon Cosmetics Ltd, of Australia, Geoff Lang will be in Sri Lanka to iron out other details soon. "This will be a BOI venture and we are hoping to invest around Rs. 100 million in this plant," he said.

Mr. Thenuwara said that the prime objective behind this move is to cut down on freight cost in importing cosmetics and provide genuine products to South Asian customers at a lesser price.

He said that Paragon products were in the Sri Lankan market in the late 1990's, but had been pulled out. "Now, Thenuwara Trading Pvt. Ltd, under Paragon Cosmetics Ltd., (Sri Lanka) has been appointed the sole distributor for Sri Lanka and the Maldives."

He said that last December the company had a soft launch and the response so far has been good. "We target the upper middle class and Beauty saloons and hope to market our products through the Internet, direct marketing and via super markets." He said that for the first time they will be launching "Slim Line cream " which will help burn extra fat. Besides, we will market 56 products all of which have been ratified by the Sri Lanka Health Ministry," he said.

Thenuwara Trading Pvt. Ltd., which sets up business in the Aqua Culture only last year hopes to launch their product range in the Maldives next month.

"Paragon Cosmetics Ltd., was launched in Australia in 1976 and over the years has become a market leader because of its high quality product. Today, Paragon is being marketed through leading super markets and departmental stores in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Paragon offers extensive hair skin products making it the ideal solutions for people of all walks of life," said Marketing Manager, Paragon Cosmetics Ltd., (Sri Lanka) Pradeep David.
Daily News 5/02/02
90% stake in Lanka Marine Services Ltd to be privatised

Public Enterprises Reform Commission (PERC) has invited expressions of interest to privatise 90% stake in Lanka Marine Services Limited (LMSL).

At present LMSL has the monopoly in bunkering operated within the harbour providing bunkers to ships calling in at the Colombo Port. Nearly 14,500 tonnes of bunker fuel is supplied per month by LMSL of which 12% is taken outside Port limits. The fuel oil requirement for bunkers that is imported by LMSL is stored in bonded storage tanks from which they are supplied directly to private operators. LMSL operates through bunker brokers who supply the product to private barge operators. There are around 30 bunker brokers in operation at present and five barge operators in addition to LMSL. LMSL has a storage facility at Bloemendhal Road, Colombo 15, which has a total storage capacity of approx. 31,000 MT of which 29,000 MT is useable capacity.

The company has access to three pipelines that carry fuel oil (IFO), gas oil (MGO) and marine diesel oil (MDO) from the Bloemendhal Terminal to the South Jetty in the Colombo Port from which the two bunker barges owned by LMSL carry out deliveries. The company also acts as the handling agent of CPC for the supply of marine lubricants to vessels and other industries. These lubricants are sent by the foreign principles (FAMM, Shell, BP, Mobil, Caltex, ELF and Castrol) and are stored as bonded cargo at the Bloemendhal terminal.

Daily Mirror 4/02/02
Touchwood IPO opens on Feb. 6
The first Initial Public Offering (IPO) to appear in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 2000 will be launched by Touchwood Investments Ltd. on February 6.

This will also be the first IPO to take place since the new listing rules were introduced by the Stock Exchange (CSE).

The local company, approved by the Board of Investment to farm 2000 acres of Mahogany, will offer 800,000 ordinary shares at a par value of Rs. 10. Thereafter, 2.23 million ordinary shares of Touchwood are expected to be listed in the CSE.

"The issue will close on February 25. However, if it is oversubscribed before this date, it will close on the date on which it was oversubscribed," Saffina Fairoos, Manager - Capital Market of Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka, which is the manager to the issue, said.
The company will be listed on the Second Board of the CSE. The public share issue will account for 36 per cent of the company and the proceeds will be utilised to plant more Mahogany trees, she said.

Chairman, Touchwood Investments, Roscoe A. Maloney said that the novel project had been under research for the last five years with over 300 woodlots (60 acres) already being sold.

With an investment of Rs. 10,000, a customer can purchase a tree and after 17 1/2 years, when the tree has reached maturity, it can be sold back to the company for Rs. 250,000. Touchwood supplies the land, plants the trees, manages and safeguards the plots till maturity.

"This is a sound investment policy as well as being a step towards stopping the destruction of rain forests. We decided on Mahogany for this project as they are ideal for the Sri Lankan climate, suitable to be grown in different geographical locations, have relatively short-term harvest cycles of 17 1/2 years, are resistant to even hurricanes and fires and have high value and demand even in other countries," he said.

If an investor's tree is destroyed due to some reason, however remote this possibility maybe, the company has a buffer stock from which the damaged tree will be replaced, he added.

Among Touchwood Investments' future plans are the development of a Mahogany Tree Preference Share, putting up a saw mill and factory, export of Mahogany timber and products, establishment of carbon credit trading and development of Mahogany woodlots outside Sri Lanka.

Sunday Observer 3/02/02
Nestling sites to protect turtles

The Wildlife Department will shortly establish special turtle nestling sites, in coastal areas to ensure protection of this globally endangered species and encourage breeding habitats of five of the seven species of turtles that visit Sri Lanka's shore.

This follows a pilot project within a 3 km protected beach area in Bundala where several species of turtles have already been provided with an environment conducive for breeding, Wildlife Director Dayananda Kariyawasam told the `Daily News' yesterday. According to the Director, although there are local and international conventions prohibiting hunting and egg collection, all seven of the world's turtle species are today threatened with extinction.

The mortality rate of hatchlings and eggs is extremely high given the army of predators they face. Besides human interference- which is seen as the major cause for this detrimental trend- turtle hatchlings, face a serious threat from wild pig, ghost crabs, birds and even dogs.
The department will deploy staff to monitor and regulate the declared 'nestling sites' to increase their chances of survival. The project, is also seen as much more than conservation with opportunities to develop eco-tourism in the country since research has proven that turtles have inherent navigation capabilities which enable them to return to the hatching sites instinctively.

" Sri Lanka has the distinction of being the 'adoptive home' for five of the world's seven turtle species. However, we have yet to develop this opportunity. Other destinations which have fewer species visiting their shores market themselves as destinations harbouring major turtle nestling sites in their ecotourism promotion propaganda," the Director said.

Daily News 2/02/02
Holcim (Lanka) to invest $100 million to reconstruct KKS cement factory

Holcim (Lanka) Limited (HLL) will invest US$ 100 million to reconstruct the Kankesanturai cement factory when normalcy returns to the Jaffna peninsula, company's chairman, Manilal Fernando said.
"The company is closely following the progress of the peace process with interest," he told the 'Daily News' following the media conference to launch the company's new corporate identity, from Puttalam Cement Company Ltd to (PCCL) to Holcim (Lanka) Limited, Chairman Holcim (Lanka), Manilal Fernando said.

"To raise funds to build this plant is not a problem since our new international partner will fund it," he said. At present, the PCCL holds over 36% of the market share in Sri Lanka but the demand is more. "At present, we are not in a position to manufacture more. But when the proposed Jaffna plant comes into operation, we are hoping to export cement to India as well," he said.
Mr. Fernando, who is Sri Lanka's only official to be in the legal panel of the Asia Football Confederation, said that Holcim international has invested US$ 3.5 million to upgrade their present plant in Puttalam. "Now we have changed our firing system from Ferns to coal firing which has brought down our production cost. During the last five years we have also computerised our plant to keep in line with world standards," he said.

Former President of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka, Mr. Fernando outlining the tie up said that this was an act of confidence shown to them by the their counterparts in Switzerland. "We are only the second partner in Asia after Bangladesh to join the Holder bank family. With the new identity we will have more financial gain as now we are linked to a global family. But we will continue to manufacture cement under the same brand name, 'Sanstha'," he said.

Tim Mackay, Managing Director, Holcim Lanka Limited said that their parent company in Switzerland started manufacturing cement 100 years ago as a family concern. "But, today it has expanded to 70 countries and has 135 manufacturing plants with a staff of nearly 50,000 producing 180 million tonnes of cement annually. "Our global partner, Holder Bank in Switzerland is the second largest player in the globe. It is not a bank, but a host of companies operating under one roof. They were the world leader last year and I am positive that very soon they will climb to the top position once again," he said.

"We are pledged to provide the most innovative solutions and services for our customers to meet their individual needs. We bring a passion for performance to everything we do from executive suites to the plant floor raising the standard of our industry," he said.

As a part of their renowned customer oriented approach they have established a new web site and a new mailing address.

Daily News 31/01/2002
Sirio Limited a BOI approved company will establish a project to manufacture non-quota garments for the export market. The ceremony of laying of the foundation stone will be held on 1st February 2001 at Katukanda Estate, Badalgama (Off Negombo). Mr Arjunna Mahendran, Chairman/Director General of the BOI will be the Chief Guest at this occasion.

Dott Sandro Veronesi, the President of Calzedonia Luxembourg opened 3 years ago its first factory, Omega Line Ltd, a state-of-the-art factory at Sandalankawa after Mr Nagendra the Chairman of Omega Line invited him to invest in Sri Lanka.

Due to the success of Omega Line Ltd, with its Managing Director, Mr Vincenzo Joppolo, an expert with over 30 years experience in the garment industry, endorsing the confidence they had on the country, Dott. Veronesi decided to open another factory to expand their presence in Sri Lanka.

The estimated investment of this project is Rs. 521 Mn., and employment generated is 1200. Sirio's product lines will include mainly foundation garments, swimwear etc.(non-quota garments) Production capacity of this project will be eight million garments per year.

The parent company of Sirio Limited will sell their products through a network over 1250 shops in Europe. They also have their own labels, namely "Intimissimi" for underwear and "Calzedonia" for swimwear.

The board of directors of the Sirio Ltd consists of S. T. Nagendra (Chairman), Sandro Veronesi, Vincenzo Joppolo (Managing Director), Dinal Peiris.

BOI Chairman, Mr Mahendran said he was delighted to see a renewed interest in garments despite "post quota" uncertainties. "The project brings with it access to established markets and partners and that is what the sector needs most" he added.

Source: BOI media unit
SLT goes digital asymmetrically

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (widely known as ADSL) service is to be introduced in by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT).

The national telecom carrier initially plans to implement Rs.13 million-worth ADSL pilot project to provide the service to customers in Slave Island area and expand it further in the future. ADSL, a broadband service, will be the newest addition to SLT net's product menu, which comprise access technologies such as Dial-up Internet (both normal and ISDN) and Internet Leased lines.

With the introduction of ADSL service customers will be able to enjoy a high bandwidth to fulfill their communication needs with dedicated access to Internet. A SLT spokesman said that ADSL service will facilitate up to 2 Mbps for uplink whilst 512 kbps for downlink. Through ADSL's local agent Infotech, SLT has chosen M/s Alcatel as the equipment supplier.

Daily Mirror 23/01/02
BOI to supply power to FTZ investors

The Board of Investment (BOI) is planning to have its own power plants to provide an uninterrupted supply of electricity to industries in its investment zones, BOI chairman and director general Arjuna Mahendran said.

"We want to see if we can give our own captive power to our investors - for the BOI to have own power plants," he said in an interview.

"There's no point in promoting investment if you can't give a 24-hour power supply," he added.

He said his immediate priority as BOI chief would be to "put our house in order".

The BOI wants to see all its investment zones functioning well and ensure a good service to existing customers.

"It has been proved all over the world that your best source of future investments are existing investors," he said.

The BOI has 11 industrial zones around the country. Eighty percent of Sri Lankan industrial exports are done by BOI-approved projects.

"That shows the size of our activities," Mahendran said. "We're the pre-eminent provider of infrastructure facilities for industry."

Some shortcomings had been noted in BOI investment zones such as effluents seeping into wells and faulty streetlights.

"There has been some neglect of some of our older facilities in Katunayake, Biyagama and Koggala," Mahendran said. "There's been more emphasis on new zones such as Wathupitiwala, Mirigama and Malwatta."

The emphasis would be on improving housing and transport for workers and infrastructure such as power and water supply for employers, he said. The BOI was aware of the problems that could be caused by workers having poor living conditions.

This could give rise to social tensions between employees and employers and lead to trade union agitation, he said.

The short-term investment promotion strategy would be to focus on attracting investors from the region. "Our best bet would be India, the Middle East and South East Asia in the short-term - that will be the key focus for the next six months," Mahendran said. In the longer-term, the broader promotion strategy would include some revamping of the BOI to make it a more pro-active organisation, he said.

"We want to have investment promotion officers in the BOI who will have a portfolio of clients, say 10-15 entrepreneurs, like in banks," Mahendran said. "Instead of them (investors) coming to the BOI, we'll go out to them."

This means hiring more staff at the higher levels of the organisation.

The BOI incentive structure, now seen as complicated and difficult to understand, will be simplified.

Sunday Times 20/01/2002
Source: Borad of Investments - Sri Lanka (BOI)